Police in the Dallas area kill a gunman who entered a summer camp for kids
A gunman opened fire inside a building where more than 250 kids and staff were starting a day of summer camp on Monday, setting off a panic that ended with a gunfight with police in Duncanville, Texas.
Officers shot the attacker, who was later declared dead at a local hospital. Authorities are crediting the fast response by camp staff and police with preventing injuries to anyone else.
The assault in the Dallas suburb initially triggered fears of a new tragedy, coming weeks after a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas. Across the country, there have been 267 mass shootings so far this year, according to the independent Gun Violence Archive.
The gunman walked through several areas of the complex
The incident started at 8:43 a.m. local time, when police received calls of an armed man and shots fired at the Duncanville Fieldhouse, a massive sports complex that regularly contains hundreds of campers and staff during summer camp sessions.
The first officers arrived two minutes after police were alerted to the gunman, Duncanville Assistant Police Chief Matthew Stogner said at a news conference.
“They did exactly how they were trained to do, which is to go in and stop the threat,” he said.
Children and parents were immediately put on alert
After shots rang out inside the Fieldhouse, some children hid and texted their parents, scared for their lives. At the time, the venue was hosting kids ranging from 4 to 14 years old.
“I was scared. Because I had just woke up … and then somebody just came and started shooting,” Chloe Bausta, a camper who was in the venue’s dance studio, told local TV station KDFW.
“No children have been harmed,” Duncanville Fieldhouse management said afterward. No police officers or staff were hurt, either.
The children were taken to a rec center a few blocks away, where they were reunited with their families.
The first shot sparked a lockdown
Laying out Monday’s sequence of events, Stogner said it began when a man walked into the Fieldhouse’s front doors holding a handgun. He spoke briefly with a staff member there, then fired a shot — which was heard by others in the building.
“Upon hearing that gunshot, [camp counselors] then did what they were trained to do,” Stogner said. “They moved the kids to a safe area and began locking the doors.”
The gunman walked down a hall to a classroom, but he found the door was locked. He then fired one shot into the room, Stogner said. From there, the shooter walked into a gymnasium where other kids were present. He didn’t immediately open fire, and counselors worked to get the children out of the area, Stogner said.
Officers caught up with the gunman in the gymnasium and confronted him, sparking an exchange of gunfire, “to where he was put down on the ground,” Stogner said.
A motive isn’t yet known
Police declined to discuss a motive or to identify the gunman on Monday, citing the ongoing investigation. The case is being handled by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Fieldhouse had been hosting its second week of summer day camp. Because of the active inquiry at the scene of the shooting, the kids enrolled there will be offered spots in other camps this week, Duncanville City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides said.